The American Dream is something most people strive for. Whether that dream is to own your own business, to work your way up the ladder at a large company, or become successful in a field that you love, it’s always been there. The reason is clear: because it’s achievable and always has been. This country is full of inspirational people who started with nothing and achieved big things. Now, people are living in unprecedented times. While coronavirus is fought on the medical front, small businesses all over the country have been forced to shut down because of it, and a dark cloud of doubt looms over many of these businesses ever opening their doors again. Good news, there is help for small business owners available.
The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offered by the SBA allows forgivable loans for small businesses. The proceeds (all or in part) will be forgiven if 75% of the funds are used for payroll in the first eight weeks. The money can also be used for rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. While there are still some kinks to work out, the program’s goal is to get money into the pockets of small business employees as well as their employers, to keep businesses afloat as the economy rebounds.
The SBA also offers other programs.
1. EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan)
This emergency advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief for businesses that are struggling. It doesn’t have to be repaid, either.
2. SBA Express Bridge Loans
These loans allow small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender up to $25,000 quickly.
3. SBA Debt Relief
This program will pay six months of principal, interest, and fees for certain loans disbursed before Sept. 27, 2020. (Doesn’t include PPP or EIDL)
The PPP and other SBA programs are only the beginning of the help available for small business owners. Check out these other resources and tools that provide help for small business owners during this tumultuous time.
1. Database for Grants and Loans
Created by CASE (Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship) at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, this searchable database has more than $1 trillion available from over 550 listings to help you find aid that you may not have known was out there.
2. Businesses Owned by Women or Minorities
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) gives $10,000 grants to small businesses that are struggling because of the pandemic. Anyone can apply for the grants, but they’re most interested in helping businesses owned by women or minorities.
3. Free Legal Advice
The Lawyers for Good Government Foundation offers pro bono legal advice for small business owners in the Detroit area, New York City, Florida, Connecticut, Georgia, North Carolina, and Washington. It’s aimed at businesses that have less than 100 employees. They also offer legal clinics and legal guidance regarding federal, state, and local programs (grants and loans), as well as other legal issues that may be a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
4. Business Strategies
Funded by the SBA, SCORE offers mentoring for small businesses. The program provides business strategies and advice on how to apply for loans and disaster grants, as well as advice on how to use those funds strategically to get your small business back on track.
5. Free Guides
This handy stimulus planner helps businesses navigate all the government stimulus programs so they can get all the funding they need as quickly as possible. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also offers a helpful guide for small businesses that includes how to get federal and state aid, tax credits, as well as other helpful information for keeping your small business going during the coronavirus crisis.
6. Debt Settlement
Virtually all unsecured debts are eligible for debt settlement through National Debt Relief. Debt settlement allows your business to settle its debts in less time than with a consolidation loan typically, in as little as 24 months in some cases.
Although it’ll likely improve in the long term, the short-term future of the economy is uncertain. The good news is that there’s help for small business owners. With loans, grants, and some guidance, the American Dream may just be achievable again.